Whilst there’s something to be said for heading into the mountains to get away from it all. There are a few hiking apps that can help you make the most of your experience. I’ve collated a list of the best hiking apps I’ve found for the Alps:
1 – View Ranger
This is my absolute favourite hiking app. The GPS locator is extremely accurate and has helped me out in a white out or two! You buy credits from the online map store which you can then use to buy entire maps or just a few map squares that you will need for your hike. Once you have a map downloaded you can then access it in offline mode. Other cool features include the ability to track your route and look for hikes in your area. You can also plot a route on the map and it will give you stats on the total distance and ascent/descent.
2 – Switzerland Mobility
If you have internet signal, then this mapping app is an amazing free GPS that covers Switzerland and the surrounding mountainous regions. It covers the whole of the Haute Route and the Tour du Mont Blanc (except one tiny section in Italy). Upgrading to Switzerland Mobility Plus unlocks extra features such as; offline mapping, GPS tracking and the ability to plot your route on the map before setting out for the day. The cost of the upgraded version is just 35CHF per year and can be used by everyone in the household. On both the free and paid for version you can activate different overlays for the map. One of the most useful overlays is the public transport links which shows the location of bus/train stops. Clicking on a bus stop or train station takes you directly to the appropriate website where you can view the timetable and buy your ticket.
3 – Meteo Swiss
You can’t beat Swiss weather forecasting and this app from Meteo Swiss has tons of useful information; weather reports, animations showing predicted weather patterns for the next few days and a live ‘on site’ weather forecaster showing what the next weather change will be. If you are hiking in winter it also includes a map showing the avalanche forecast for all the regions in Switzerland
4 – Weather Live
Outside of Switzerland, this is a great weather app. It has a very detailed weather report which is updated in live time and includes; real temperature, felt temperature, sun rise and sun set, the moon state, wind speed, precipitation, chance of rain, visibility and a rain map.
5 – Wild Flowers: Identify 1727 flowers of Western Europe
Of all the flower apps I have tried, this is the most comprehensive. The flower finding ‘wizard’ is very intuitive and helps you narrow down the flower you have found by describing its colour, flower and leaf shape. Each flower entry comes with a photo, the common and latin name, it’s flowering period, a description of the ecology it favours and a map showing its distribution. You can also save flowers you have spotted into a diary and write notes on them.
6 – Peak Finder
If you have a good GPS on your phone then this hiking app is spookily accurate. Point your camera at the horizon and peak finder will show you the name of the mountains you are looking at. If you touch the name of a mountain, the app will bring up additional information about the mountain and you can even ‘fly to it’ and get a view of the mountains you would be able to see from its summit! You can also overlay the image from your camera with the labelled drawing from Peak Finder and take a snapshot to share it with your friends later. Hours of fun!
7 – First aid by British red cross
It can be easy to forget first aid when you are in a stressful situation. This app includes an emergency section to help you know what to do in situations such as a heart attack, severe bleed or asthma attack. It also has a learning section with videos and quizzes to teach you basic first aid. It’s a British app and so the emergency number on the app is for the UK. In the Alps you can use 112 to contact ambulance, fire and rescue and police in all EU countries.
8 – Chamonix App
If you are going to spend a few days in Chamonix before the Tour du Mont Blanc or Haute route, it’s worth downloading this free app. It has lots of useful information such as; the weather forecast, lift opening times, live webcams for mountain areas, restaurants and events.
9 – Rando Savoie Mont Blanc
Covering the departments of Savoie and Haute Savoie (France), this app has a list of some of the best hikes in the region. By clicking on your map location, it’s possible to view hikes and mountain refuges in the area. The mapping system is good and you can download GPX tracks for your GPS, but it doesn’t allow offline download of the maps on the system. This app is best used for inspiration in conjunction with another mapping app for navigation.
10 – Google Translate App
French, German and Italian are the three main languages spoken in the Alps. The google translate App allows offline download of languages so that you can use it without internet. You can save your commonly used expressions into a phrase book and you can also listen to how words are pronounced before giving it a try yourself. By aiming your smart phone camera at a menu the app will automatically pick up the words and translate them for you onto your screen.
What are your favourite hiking apps?
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